Weather in Spain in January (2024): The Ultimate Guide

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The weather in Spain in January offers a pretty diverse weather experience, quite unlike any other month of the year. From the crisp mountain air of the Pyrenees to the gentle sea breezes in the Costa del Sol, the country is a tapestry of climatic variations.

Now, you might be wondering – what exactly should you pack for such a varied weather pattern? Well, as someone who lives in Spain, I’ve experienced first-hand the surprise and beauty January weather brings.

Whether you’re planning to wander through the historic streets of Seville or brace the snowy trails of Sierra Nevada, knowing what to expect in advance is definitely a good thing. And I’m here to share those insider tips that’ll ensure you’re perfectly prepared, come rain or shine.

Alhambra with snowy mountains behind it showing an example of the weather in Spain in January

Weather in Spain in January

January in Spain is the heart of winter, but the weather varies depending on where you are. The temperatures are generally cool, with northern areas experiencing colder conditions compared to the south. You’ll find that most days are sunny, yet there’s also a chance of rain.

In the coastal regions like the Costa del Sol and the Canary Islands, you can enjoy milder weather, with average temperatures around 14°C (57°F). If you’re in the inland areas or cities like Madrid, expect cooler temperatures averaging 6°C (43°F).

Northern Spain, particularly the mountainous regions, has the coldest conditions, which can dip below freezing.

January isn’t the wettest month, but you should be prepared for some rainfall. On average, Spain gets about 30ml (1.18 inches) of rain in January, with the north receiving more precipitation compared to the drier south. Parts of the country will have clear and sunny skies, while others may be overcast.

Spain’s continental climate means that the interior experiences more extremes – hotter summers and colder winters – than the coastal areas. So, while you might need a heavy coat and perhaps an umbrella in central Spain, you could get by with lighter clothing in the coastal regions.

This make it the perfect time for you to pack both warm and cool-weather layers as you explore the diversity of Spain’s winter weather.

Not sure exactly when you’re coming to Spain? If you might be coming slightly earlier, take a look at what the weather is like in Spain in December.

Maybe planning to visit a bit later? Check out the weather in February in Spain to see what you can expect.

How Hot Is Spain in January?

Spain experiences mild winter temperatures in January. You’ll find the daytime temperatures range quite a bit across the country. The average temperature hovers between 6°C (42.8°F) and 14°C (57.2°F) depending on whether you’re in the warmer southern part of the country or the chilly northern and mountainous regions.

In the southern regions, like Andalusia, you can expect warmer weather, with daytime highs around 16°C (60.8°F), making outdoor activities comfortable. Coastal cities such as Malaga may even see days where the mercury rises to 18°C (64.4°F).

In contrast, the central and northern parts of Spain are cooler – Madrid often sees daytime temperatures around 9°C (48.2°F), and in the north, such as in Bilbao, averages are similar.

Nighttime in Spain during January can be quite chilly. Temperatures can dip to 2°C (35.6°F) or lower, especially in the interior and northern parts of the country. It’s not uncommon for mountainous areas to experience freezing conditions, with temperatures falling below 0°C (32°F).

Remember, these temperatures are just a guide – weather can vary. It’s always a good idea to check the forecast before you pack your bags, pack layers to stay comfortable, and don’t forget a warm coat for those cooler evenings.

Which Part of Spain Is Warmest in January?

The warmest part of Spain in January is typically the Canary Islands. Here, you’ll find more agreeable temperatures compared to mainland Spain. The average high in the Canaries hovers around 20°C (68°F), which is quite warm for European winter standards.

The southern parts of mainland Spain, specifically the Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz, experience milder weather as well, but not quite as warm as the Canaries. Cities like Málaga and Marbella on the southern coast have average January highs around 17°C (63°F), offering a comfortable climate during this time.

Here are the average January temperatures you can expect in the warmer Spanish regions:

  • Canary Islands: Average high of 20°C (68°F) and average low of 15°C (59°F)
  • Costa del Sol (e.g. Málaga): Average high of 17°C (63°F) and average low of 7°C (45°F)
  • Costa de la Luz (e.g. Cádiz): Average high of 16°C (61°F) and average low of 8°C (46°F)

During January, the Canary Islands are quite dry with only minimal rainfall, usually less than 30 ml (1.18 inches). In contrast, Andalusia’s southern coastal areas may have slightly more rain, but it’s still considerably low compared to the rest of Spain.

Keep in mind that sea temperatures are cool, typically around 18°C (64°F), so swimming might not be as inviting unless you’re particularly hardy.

You’ll also want to pack a mix of clothing. During the day, light layers are adequate in the warmest areas, but nights can feel cool, necessitating a heavier jacket or coat.

It’s also handy to bring along some rain gear, even in the drier regions, just in case you encounter a shower.

Which Part of Spain Is Coldest in January?

In January, the coldest part of Spain is often the mountainous regions, particularly the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada. Here, temperatures can drop below 0°C (32°F), especially at higher altitudes. You’re likely to find snowy conditions, which are perfect for winter sports.

The Pyrenees:

  • Location: North Spain, bordering France
  • Average January temperatures: -2°C to 2°C (28°F to 36°F)
  • Noteworthy: Popular for skiing and snowboarding

The Sierra Nevada:

  • Location: Southern Spain, near Granada
  • Average January temperatures: 0°C to 7°C (32°F to 45°F)
  • Noteworthy: Home to the highest point in continental Spain, Mulhacén

These mountain ranges are significantly colder than other parts of Spain due to their high elevation. Low temperatures persist throughout January, sometimes accompanied by heavy snowfall, which adds to the freezing conditions.

When you’re planning a visit, it’s important to check weather reports and prepare warm clothing if you’re heading to these areas.

Aside from the mountainous regions, the interior of Spain also experiences cold weather, but not quite as severe. Northern cities like Burgos and Leon have some of the lowest temperatures in the country’s flatlands, so they tend to be chilly but with less extreme cold than in the mountains.

You should be ready for temperatures that might hover just above freezing during the day and dip lower at night.

It’s worth noting that while these areas are the coldest, they also offer beautiful winter landscapes. So, if you’re keen on experiencing Spain’s natural winter beauty and don’t mind braving the cold, they could be perfect for your travels.

Weather in Different Regions of Spain in January

Weather patterns in Spain during January can vary greatly depending on the region you’re in. Coastal areas tend to offer milder temperatures, while the interior experiences colder conditions.

Depending on your destination, you may need to pack for chilly and possibly wet weather, or you might enjoy more temperate conditions.

Weather in southern Spain in January

  • Temperature: Southern Spain sees mild winters with average highs of 16°C (61°F) and lows can dip to 6°C (43°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: Expect around 6 days of rain.
  • Average amount of rainfall: The region receives about 70 ml (2.75 inches) of rain.
  • Sea temperature: The sea averages about 16°C (61°F) in January.

Southern Spain’s winter is relatively mild with cooler evenings. You should consider bringing a jacket for the cooler nights if you’re traveling there.

Weather in northern Spain in January

  • Temperature: The north can be quite cold with average highs of 10°C (50°F) and lows around 3°C (37°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: January might have up to 14 days of rain.
  • Average amount of rainfall: Rainfall averages 100 ml (3.94 inches).
  • Sea temperature: Sea temperatures hover around 13°C (55°F).

Northern Spain is colder and wetter, so you’ll need to pack warm clothes and a waterproof jacket.

Weather in Barcelona in January

  • Temperature: Barcelona sees daytime highs of about 14°C (57°F) and nighttime lows of 5°C (41°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: There are usually 5 days of rain.
  • Average amount of rainfall: You can expect 50 ml (1.97 inches) of rain.
  • Sea temperature: The sea temperature is typically around 14°C (57°F).

Barcelona has a cool yet manageable climate in January, making it a good time to explore without the crowds.

Weather in the Canary Islands in January

  • Temperature: Expect warm temperatures with highs around 21°C (70°F) and lows of 15°C (59°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: January typically has 3 days of rainfall.
  • Average amount of rainfall: The islands receive around 25 ml (0.98 inches) of rain.
  • Sea temperature: Sea temperatures are generally around 20°C (68°F).

The Canary Islands have a much warmer climate, suitable for those seeking a mild winter escape.

Weather in Mallorca in January

  • Temperature: Average temperatures range from highs of 15°C (59°F) to lows of 4°C (39°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: Expect around 6 days of rain.
  • Average amount of rainfall: Rainfall typically reaches 40 ml (1.57 inches).
  • Sea temperature: Sea temperatures average at about 15°C (59°F).

Though it’s cool, Mallorca maintains a temperate climate during the winter months.

Weather in Ibiza in January

  • Temperature: Ibiza experiences highs of around 15°C (59°F) and lows close to 8°C (46°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: About 5 days have rain.
  • Average amount of rainfall: Rainfall averages 38 ml (1.5 inches).
  • Sea temperature: The water is typically about 16°C (61°F).

Ibiza’s winter is cooler than its hot summers, but still pleasant compared to much of mainland Europe.

Weather in Madrid in January

  • Temperature: Madrid has chilly winter days with highs of 10°C (50°F) and lows around 2°C (36°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: You might see 7 days with rain.
  • Average amount of rainfall: The rainfall averages at about 30 ml (1.18 inches).

In Madrid, you’re likely to experience crisp, cold days, so packing a warm coat is essential.

Weather in Tenerife in January

  • Temperature: Tenerife enjoys mild weather with highs of 21°C (70°F) and lows of 15°C (59°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: The island sees around 5 days of rain.
  • Average amount of rainfall: Average rainfall is 35 ml (1.38 inches).
  • Sea temperature: Average sea temperatures are about 20°C (68°F).

Tenerife, like the rest of the Canary Islands, offers a warm, inviting climate even in January.

Weather in Costa del Sol in January

  • Temperature: Average highs reach 17°C (63°F) with lows of 8°C (46°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: Expect around 7 days of rainfall.
  • Average amount of rainfall: The area gets about 83 ml (3.27 inches) of rain.
  • Sea temperature: The sea stays around 16°C (61°F).

The Costa del Sol is cooler in January but still comfortable compared to other parts of Europe.

Weather in Valencia in January

  • Temperature: Valencia has average high temperatures of 16°C (61°F) and low temperatures of 7°C (45°F).
  • Average days of rainfall: There’s potential for 4 days of rain.
  • Average amount of rainfall: The region sees about 37 ml (1.46 inches) of rain.
  • Sea temperature: The sea averages 14°C (57°F).

Valencia’s weather is fairly mild in January, which is great for those looking to avoid extreme cold.

Is January a Good Time to Visit Spain?

January can be a great time to visit Spain if you’re seeking a quieter travel experience, with weather that’s generally cool but still warmer than northern Europe. You’ll find fewer tourists and reduced crowds at major attractions. Costs for accommodation and flights may also be lower during this time.

In January, Spain experiences winter with cooler temperatures that vary widely by region. Northern areas can be quite cold, while the southern coast, like in Costa del Sol, often remains milder. Expect temperatures to range from 5°C (41°F) to 14°C (57°F), with colder evenings.

Despite the cold, January still hosts vibrant events such as the Three Kings Day parade you’ll find in basically every Spanish city and town this month.

Regarding tourism and crowds, low season equals fewer tourists. This means attractions are less crowded, so you’re in for a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere than the peak summer months.

Traveling around Spain is also easier in January due to fewer travelers. You’re more likely to find good deals on accommodation and flights, potentially making your trip more budget-friendly.

Which Part of Spain Is Best to Visit in January?

In January, southern Spain is often considered the best region to visit due to its milder climate. Cities like Seville and Malaga enjoy warmer temperatures compared to the north. You’ll find that the weather is more conducive to outdoor activities without the intense heat of the summer.

Seville tends to have pleasant days with average temperatures around 12°C (54°F). It’s known for its rich history and architecture, including the Alcazar Palace and the Seville Cathedral.

January is also the season for Seville’s famous orange trees to bear fruit, adding a vibrant touch to the city’s scenery.

Over in Malaga, on the southern coast, temperatures average around 13°C (55°F) in January. The Costa del Sol, where Malaga is located, usually provides sunny days which are ideal for strolling along the beaches or visiting historic sites, like the Alcazaba and the Roman Theatre.

Granada also deserves a mention – thanks to its unique location near the Sierra Nevada mountains, you can enjoy skiing opportunities at the resort of Pradollano, with temperatures in the city itself averaging 7°C (45°F).

Finally, the Balearic Islands experience mild winter temperatures around 10°C to 14°C (50°F to 57°F) and have fewer tourists, giving you a more relaxed atmosphere.

Is It Hot in Spain in January?

No, it’s not hot in Spain in January. You’ll find that it’s actually one of the coldest months. Temperatures vary by region, but they’re generally cool.

In the coastal areas like Barcelona or Valencia, you might experience mild temperatures averaging 13°C (55°F) during the day. It’s cooler at night, often dipping to about 4-6°C (39-43°F).

Conversely, in the central and northern parts of Spain, such as Madrid or Bilbao, it’s colder with daytime highs around 6-11°C (43-52°F) and nighttime lows possibly dropping to slightly below freezing.

Expect more variable weather in the southern regions like Andalusia. Here daytime highs can be relatively warmer, with averages of 16°C (61°F), which might seem quite pleasant if you’re accustomed to colder climates.

RegionAverage Daytime HighAverage Nighttime Low
Coastal Areas (e.g., Barcelona)13°C (55°F)4°C (39°F)
Central/Northern Areas (e.g., Madrid)8°C (46°F)0°C (32°F)
Southern Areas (e.g., Andalusia)16°C (61°F)6°C (43°F)

Rain isn’t uncommon, but the amount varies widely. You might see around 30 ml (1.18 inches) in Madrid compared to 85 ml (3.35 inches) in coastal areas. It’s wise to pack layers, a warm coat, and an umbrella, as you may encounter both brisk temperatures and rainfall during your visit.

Is It Cold in Spain in January?

January is one of the coldest months in Spain. You’ll find varying temperatures across the country, from chillier weather in the north to milder climates in the south. It’s important to pack accordingly if you’re planning a visit during this time.

In the northern regions such as Galicia, Asturias, and the Basque Country, temperatures can be quite low. You might experience conditions from 4°C (39°F) to 10°C (50°F), with a higher likelihood of rain, averaging 100 ml (4 inches) per month.

Traveling to Madrid or Castilla-La Mancha, you’ll feel colder temperatures, sometimes dipping as low as 0°C (32°F) at night. Daytime highs hover around 10°C (50°F), but with less precipitation than the north, typically around 30 ml (1.2 inches).

Contrastingly, Andalusia and the Costa del Sol offer milder weather. Daytime averages sit at 16°C (61°F), but nights can still get chilly, occasionally falling to 6°C (43°F). Rainfall is also lower here, around 30 ml (1.2 inches).

Finally, the Balearic Islands, including Majorca and Ibiza, maintain daytime averages of 14°C (57°F), while the Canary Islands are warmer, generally around 20°C (68°F), making them a cozy retreat during the European winter.

Remember, these temperatures are just averages – it could be warmer or cooler on the day of your visit. Pack layered clothing, a good coat, and perhaps an umbrella, so you’re prepared for Spain’s January weather.

What to Pack When Visiting Spain in January

When visiting Spain in January, you should prepare for cooler temperatures and the possibility of rain. You’ll want to pack a mix of warm clothing and waterproof items to stay comfortable.

Layering is key, as indoor spaces may be heated while outdoor socializing is popular.

  • Warm Coat: Bring a warm, insulated coat that can protect against chilly winds.
  • Layers: Include long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, and cardigans that you can layer under the coat.
  • Waterproof Jacket: Pack a light waterproof jacket for rainy days.
  • Scarf, Gloves, and Hat: These will keep you warm during morning and evening outings.
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes: Spain’s cities are best explored on foot, and you might encounter wet streets.
  • Umbrella: A compact, sturdy umbrella is handy for unexpected showers.
  • Sunglasses: Sunny days are still common, so protect your eyes.
  • Sunscreen: Even in January, the sun can be strong, especially in the south.
  • Daypack: For carrying essentials as you explore, choose a water-resistant one.

Remember to check the weather forecast for the specific regions of Spain you’ll be visiting closer to your trip date, as conditions can change. Your packing list may adjust slightly depending on whether you’ll be staying along the coast, in large cities, or in the countryside.

Main Events in Spain in January

January in Spain is characterized by cooler temperatures and a host of traditional events and festivals. You’ll find towns and cities alive with vibrant parades and celebrations, especially considering January is when Spain celebrates some of its most colorful fiestas.

Here’s a look at some of the main events that take place across the country during this month.

  • Three Kings Day Parade: On January 5th, cities across Spain host parades to celebrate Epiphany, known locally as ‘La Cabalgata de Reyes Magos’. Children delight in seeing the Three Wise Men parade through the streets.
  • San Sebastián Day: January 20th is when the city of San Sebastián comes alive with the sound of drums for ‘La Tamborrada’. It’s a 24-hour drumming festival where everyone gets involved.
  • Jarramplas: The town of Piornal hosts this festival on January 19-20, where a character known as the Jarramplas is pelted with turnips by locals.
  • Fiesta de San Anton: Celebrating animals, this festival on January 17th involves the blessing of animals in many towns and huge bonfires in Saint Anthony’s honor.
  • San Antonio Abad in Trigueros: An overnight pilgrimage takes place in Huelva province on the Saint’s feast day, involving bonfires and local traditions.
  • Fiesta de San Vicente Mártir: Valencia honors its patron saint on January 22nd with religious ceremonies and processions.
  • Moros y Cristianos in Bocairent: A reenactment of the Moors and Christians battles takes place in early February, but the preparations and smaller events start in late January.
  • Fiestas de San Pablo in Zaragoza: From January 24th-29th, there are festivities including processions, dances, and music honoring St. Paul.
  • Fiesta de Santo Tomás de Jornet: Held in Granada province, this festival includes a traditional ‘cabra’ dance unique to the region.
  • Festival Internacional de Arte Sacro: This music festival held in Madrid spans from late January to early March, focusing on spiritual and religious music.
  • Las Luminarias: In the small village of San Bartolomé de Pinares, horses are ridden through bonfires on the eve of Saint Anthony’s Day to purify and protect them for the coming year.

Where to Go in Spain in January

January in Spain is mild compared to much of Northern Europe. You’ll find varying climates across the region. Here’s a list of places you might consider visiting:

  • Seville: With average temperatures around 12°C (54°F), Seville’s winter is relatively warm. You’ll enjoy fewer crowds and the beauty of the Andalusian capital without the intense summer heat.
  • Granada: At the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada sees colder winter weather, with averages of 6°C (43°F). It’s a great time to visit the Alhambra Palace without the usual tourist throngs.
  • Madrid: Spain’s capital can be quite cold in January, around 6°C (43°F). It’s perfect for visiting museums like the Prado without waiting in long lines.
  • Barcelona: Expect mild temperatures around 10°C (50°F). The city is less crowded, and you can admire Gaudí’s architecture in peace.
  • Valencia: On the Mediterranean coast, expect temperatures about 11°C (52°F). It’s ideal for enjoying the city’s culture and architecture without the oppressive heat.
  • Malaga: One of the warmest cities in January at about 13°C (55°F). You can explore historic sites and enjoy coastal walks with fewer tourists.
  • The Canary Islands: Enjoy spring-like weather around 18°C (64°F). Perfect for beach-going and hiking.
  • The Balearic Islands: Mild winter weather with temperatures around 11°C (52°F) makes for a pleasant off-season getaway.
  • Cordoba: January temperatures hover around 10°C (50°F). Explore its historic center and the famous Mosque-Cathedral comfortably.
  • Bilbao: Typically sees temperatures around 9°C (48°F). The cooler weather is great for experiencing Basque culture and cuisine.

Remember, while the south tends to be warmer, northern regions can be significantly cooler. Coastal areas generally offer milder weather compared to inland where it can be a good deal colder.

Rainfall isn’t heavy in January, but there’s more in the north than the south if you’re looking to stay dry. Pack a variety of clothing to suit each of these potential weather scenarios.

What to Do in Spain in January

January in Spain offers a variety of activities despite the cooler temperatures, which often hover around 7°C (45°F) to 10°C (50°F). You won’t find the beaches as inviting as in the summer, but Spain’s cultural offerings and indoor attractions remain plentiful.

You’ll find fewer crowds and can experience local festivals that are unique to this time of year.

Skiing in the Pyrenees or Sierra Nevada is a popular choice, as January is usually marked by good snow conditions. Spain’s rich history can be explored in its many museums, castles, and cathedrals, which tend to be less crowded.

For the adventurous, hiking in national parks offers a chance to enjoy nature with a different palette of colors.

Activities to Enjoy in Spain in January:

  • Hit the Slopes: Ski or snowboard in top resorts, such as Baqueira-Beret and Sierra Nevada, taking advantage of the reliable snowfall.
  • City Tours: Walk through historic cities like Madrid, Barcelona, or Granada to admire their winter charm without the usual tourist masses.
  • Museum Visits: Explore renowned museums such as the Prado in Madrid or the Guggenheim in Bilbao, enjoying the art at a leisurely pace.
  • Sample Traditional Cuisine: Savor seasonal dishes like cocido madrileño (Madrid stew), offering warmth and local flavor on cold days.
  • Attend a Football Match: Experience the passion of Spanish football by attending a La Liga game.
  • Spanish Cooking Classes: Learn to make traditional Spanish dishes like paella or churros in a local cooking class.
  • Flamenco Shows: Watch authentic flamenco performances in Andalusian cities like Seville, known for this vibrant dance.
  • Visit Historical Sites: Discover the Alhambra in Granada or the Great Mosque of Córdoba, with shorter lines in January.
  • Festival Participation: Join in local January festivals, like the San Sebastian Festival in Palma or the Cabalgata de Reyes Magos.
  • Spa Retreat: Indulge in a spa day in natural hot springs, such as those found in the town of Lanjarón.
  • Wine Tasting: Tour the vineyards of La Rioja or Ribera del Duero and enjoy some of Spain’s finest wines.
  • Take a Spanish Course: Benefit from quieter settings to study Spanish at one of the many language schools available.

Visiting Spain in January has its perks, including the chance to immerse yourself in Spanish culture with fewer distractions and a more authentic local experience. Whether you’re hitting the slopes or savoring the taste of Spanish winter cuisine, there’s plenty to keep you occupied on your trip.

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